About Akwi Nji

Akwi is an artist creating in words, performance, and visual art. She specializes in creative personal narrative storytelling across artistic mediums and through producing and curating community-focused arts programming. Her work and words have appeared on stage from California's Wine Country to New York's Fashion Week.

 

She is owner of Threshold Gallery, an artist-run gallery and micro venue with a mission to support women artists and artists of color in the Midwest; creator of The Remoir Project, a nationwide audio and visual storytelling arts initiative; and a champion of the artist and the arts through her role as producer of multi-media arts events in the Midwest.

 

Akwi has served as an arts ambassador in multiple roles including as founding executive director of The Hook, an Iowa Arts Council board member, producer of nearly 100 events in recent years, involving more than 300 writers and performers; and advisor of Arts Midwest initiatives.

 

Her art serves as manifestations of her exploration of race, gender, Black history as American history, and a parallelism of current social issues with their historical and cultural counterparts, tensions between the 'outsider' and 'insider', and concepts of spiritual and geographic home. As a writer, voice artist, performer, and producer her collaborative partners include Emmy-award winning composers and nationally-renowned dancers and choreographers. She has been an Iowa Arts Council Fellow and, for her efforts in the business community, she was named one of Corridor Business Journal’s Forty Under 40. 

Akwi was born in Iowa City, Iowa, and raised in Cameroon, Africa. Her experiences as a Cameroonian and Cameroonian American inform her work as artist and advocate. She lives in the Midwest with her two daughters, the family dog, and her daughters' cats.

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND

Akwi's professional background is in nonprofit leadership, public education, journalism, and strategic communications. In addition to maintaining a robust art practice, she has most recently served in administrative roles at some of the largest school districts in Iowa. Her professional expertise uniquely spans the corporate and creative world, positioning her as a sought-after voice on strategic and creative communications in the midwest region. She is currently Director of School and Community Relations at the Waterloo Community School District in Iowa.

ARTS ADVOCACY

Akwi is deeply passionate about advocating for inclusionary arts as a critical component of civic wellness. She is an advocate for multi-ethnic and multi-generational inclusion in the arts and in community-building initiatives. She is also an advocate for the democratization of art-making and normalization of art collecting, increased accessibility of the arts to traditionally underrepresented artists and patrons, and strengthening arts ecosystems through professional development opportunities for emerging artists.

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Photo Credit: Amanda Dee Photography